Everyday medication adherence practices can take just a few minutes, yet reap rewards for you and your patients.
You may wonder how to start addressing the adherence topic in your pharmacy. Maybe you think your patients are perfectly adherent and do not need any assistance. Try the following experiment— it won’t take long.
Research tells us that the greatest opportunity to improve medication adherence is with patients who have diabetes, hypertension, depression, hyperlipidemia, and asthma. We’ve chosen the top two prescribed medications for each disease state and listed them in the box at right. Select one to three of the medications listed and check your pharmacy’s database or dispensing report to see how many patients are refilling their medications every 30 days, or as regularly as the prescription indicates.
How did your experiment turn out? As you expected? Better or worse? Do you see potential for additional refills and improving your patients’ health? Now would be a perfect opportunity to take note of a few names on the non-adherent list. The next time you see these patients, emphasize how important it is to take their medications regularly as prescribed and refill them on time. Try to find out if there is a larger issue.
Alternatively, you could give these patients a call right now. As pharmacists, it is our duty to promote the adherence that helps our patients maintain or improve their health. Your patients will respect and appreciate the personal interest you show in their well-being.
Over the course of the next month, conduct this experiment with all medications on the list and see if you can practice at least two adherence interventions a day. We think you’ll be impressed with the results.
Do you have an adherence idea, tip, or program that is working in your pharmacy? Let us know. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800–544–7447.
Reprinted with permission from National Community Pharmacists Association in the August 2010 issue of America’s Pharmacist. For more information about NCPA, visit www.ncpanet.org.